Chemistry. Its widespread use to create innovative new products is one of the hallmarks of our modern age. The products of chemistry—from flame retardants, to bike helmets, to battlefield technologies—have helped make the world safer.
The business of chemistry today touches more than 96 percent of the products that we all use every day and accounts for thousands of new products and innovations, so it’s imperative that chemistry be used safely and responsibly. While certain parts of America’s chemical management system require modernization, a robust system of laws and industry initiatives oversees the use of chemical products, enhances scientific understanding and makes safety information available to the public.
ACC and its member companies developed the Responsible Care® Product Safety Code to drive continuous improvement in chemical product safety as part of the industry’s signature environmental, health, safety and security management system. The Product Safety Code is our industry’s public commitment to our role in the safe management of chemicals and articulates our pledge to make safety a core value in how our products are made, sold, delivered, used and disposed of.
More than a dozen federal laws create a safety net to oversee the safe use of chemical products, including:
- The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) gives the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) authority to review and regulate chemicals in commerce. TSCA was designed to ensure that products are safe for intended use. While TSCA must be updated to keep pace with scientific advancements, many parts of the program have worked well over the years.
Scientific Understanding of Chemical Safety
Along with numerous government programs, ACC sponsors two primary scientific initiatives to enhance scientific understanding of chemical safety: the Long-Range Research Initiative (LRI), which promotes innovation in the methods and technologies used for assessing chemical safety, and the Center for Advancing Risk Assessment Science and Policy (ARASP), that focuses on advancing knowledge about how chemicals interact with the body and the relationship between chemical exposure and safety.
Accessible Safety Information
Chemical products in the United States undergo review and evaluation before use, yet much of that information historically had not been readily available to the public. Two initiatives help close that gap:
- In cooperation with EPA and the Environmental Defense Fund, chemical makers in 1998 launched the High Production Volume (HPV) Challenge Program to create a public source of health and environmental information on the most widely used chemical products. This voluntary program expanded globally in 1998 and was updated in 2005 to include additional chemical products and safety information.
- Chemical makers worldwide participate in the Global Product Strategy (GPS) that publishes plain language safety summaries of chemical products, strengthens product stewardship and informs international efforts to promote the safe production, use and disposal of chemical products.
Policies to Ensure Chemical Safety
Americans must feel confident that the federal regulatory system is keeping pace with the applications of chemistry. Our nation’s primary chemicals management law must be updated to adapt to scientific advancements and to promote that chemical products are safe for intended use—while also encouraging innovation and protecting American jobs.
Learn more about policies that can help American chemistry continue innovating, creating jobs and enhancing safety.